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El Calafate is a small town in Patagonia, in the southwest of the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. It borders Lago Argentino and the town has seen a significant growth in tourism during the last decade or so, with an increasing number of inhabitants as a result. It's the gateway to numerous natural attractions, like the fantastic Perito Moreno Glacier. It's location betweeen El Chaltén and Torres del Paine National Park (Chile) makes it an inevitable stop for those in transit
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Monte Fitz Roy (Cerro Fitz Roy) lies on the border of Chile and Argentina in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Francisco Moreno named the mountain in his book Viaje a la Patagonia Austral in honour of Robert FitzRoy, the captain of HMS Beagle, who sailed up the Santa Cruz River in 1834 and surveyed large parts of the Patagonian coast. The mountain is also sometimes known as Cerro Chaltén, which means smoking mountain, because of the clouds that often form around the peak.
The first recorded climb was achived by French duo Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone. Despite the average height of the mountain, it is listed as one of the most technical climbs in the world because of the almost vertical granite faces. There are years that not a single successful ascent was recorded due to the extremely difficult climb.
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The Perito Moreno Glacier is located about 80 kilometres from El Calafate, also the Parque Nacional de los Glaciares. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Argentinian Patagonia. It is about 30 kilometres in length, and one of only a few glaciers that is not retreating.
Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE), which is located 21 kilometres from El Calafte offer some flights. Aerolineas Argentinas flies to/from Buenos Aires, Trelew and Ushuaia.
LADE has flights to and from Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Mar del Plata, Puerto Madryn, Esquel, Rio Grande, Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia.
Finally, LAN Argentina flies to Buenos Aires and Ushuaia as well.
Buses go regularly to El Chalten (3.5 hours), Puerto Natales (5 hours) and Rio Gallegos (4 hours). For Bariloche and Ushuaia, change in Rio Gallegos. Chalten Travel offers more connections during the summermonths (October - April) to El Chalten and Perito Moreno, with onward connections to Bariloche (2 days!).
Many agencies have car rental options. The international brands Hertz and Avis have offices in town, on the main road.
|Albergue & Hostal del Glaciar - HI||Los Pioneros 251||Hostel||83|
|Albergue Buenos Aires||C/ Buenos Aires 296||Hostel||80|
|America del Sur Hostel||Calle Puerto Deseado S/N||Hostel||90|
|Aonikenk Bed & Breakfast||Av. Padre Agostini 27.||guesthouse||-|
|Calafate Hostel||Gobernador Moyano 1226||Hostel||79|
|Casa de los Grillos B&B||Las Bandurrias str. - n/n||hostel||-|
|Cauquenes de Nimez||Calle 303 n 79||Guesthouse||-|
|Che Lagarto Hostels Calafate||Calle 25 de Mayo N°311||Hostel||79|
|Hospedaje Lautaro||Espora 237||Hotel||-|
|Hostel de las Manos||Egidio Feruglio S/N||hostel||80|
|Hostel del Glaciar Libertador||Av. Libertador 587||hostel||-|
|Hosteria Austral||San Juan Bosco 917||Guesthouse||81|
|Hostería Puerto San Julian||Pto San Julian 310||Hotel||-|
|Hosteria Schilling||Gobernador Paradelo 141||hotel||-|
|Hosteria Sir Thomas||Comandante Espora 257||hostel||-|
|I Keu Ken Hostel||F.M Pontoriero 171 - El Calafate||Hostel||89|
|Lago Argentino Hostel||C. del Desierto 1061||hostel||-|
|Las Cabanitas||Valenting Feilberg 218||Guesthouse||-|
|Marcopolo Inn Calafate||Calle 405 Nº 82||Hostel||71|
|Marcopolo Suites Calafate||Av. Jorge Newbery 439||Hostel||-|
|Posada Patagonica Nakel Yenú||Pto. San Julian 244||Hostel||85|
|Xelena Deluxe Suites Hotel||DR. Rene Favaloro 3500 El Calafate, Santa Cruz||Hotel||-|
|Hosteria Meulen||Calle 202 Frente a Laguna Nimez||HOTEL||-|
|Pioneros Hostel||Los Pioneros 255||HOSTEL||77|
|Hostal Patagonico Amancay||Gobernador Gregores 1457||Guesthouse||-|
|El Puente||Av.Del Libertador 647||Apartment||-|
|Posada del Angel Calafate||Calle Madre Teresa Calcuta 909||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostel International Point||Avenida Peron 1016||HOSTEL||-|
|Hosteria Las Avutardas||Av. del Libertador 1737||Hotel||85|
|MyHotel||Calle 25 de Mayo 311 Santa Cruz||Guesthouse||-|
|Hosteria Sir Thomas El Calafate||Comandante Espora 257 El Calafate||HOTEL||-|
|Los Gnomos||Chichin Ariztizabal 157||HOTEL||-|
Internet cafes are still widely available in most places, even in smaller towns, though many people are connected through the internet at home or by mobile device. Many cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi with an advertisement in their windows. All you need to do is buy something and ask for the password. Apart from specific places, including soms airports and major stations, quite a few cities are offering free wifi, including Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Iguazu Falls.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Argentina is 54. To make an international call from Argentina, dial 00 followed by the country code and the rest of the telephone number. All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers, except if you call from a mobile phone. Emergency numbers are available for Police (101), Ambulance (107) and Fire (100). Emergency dispatcher for Buenos Aires (city), Santa Fe (city), Rosario (city), Salta (province), Corrientes (province), and Buenos Aires (province) 911. In a mobile phone 112 forwards to 911.
You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American or European mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone numbers. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.
Without a cellphone, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called locutorios, where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about 10 Pesos. Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive.
Correos de Argentina is the national postal service of Argentina. There are also two private carriers operating nationwide (OCA and Andreani) and a number of regional ones though Correos de Argentina will be the one most likely to be used by travellers. Post offices are mostly open between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, though there are regional variantions with longer hours in central post offices in big cities and shorter ones in small towns. Services are pretty reliable but slow, mostly taking about two weeks to deliver a postcard or letter to the USA or Europe, but usually within a few days sending it domestically. There is also a more expensive express options. You can track a package online at the Correos de Argentino website. Parcels take at least 3-5 days domestically and weeks internationally. Otherwise try international companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS to send parcels. It is probably more reliable as well as faster.
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